Team Saskatchewan will play Team Ontario for the gold medal on Friday after defeating Team Manitoba Thursday. (Creeden Martell/CBC) Team Saskatchewan’s under-16 men’s softball team put on another show of dominance Thursday at the #North American Indigenous Games (#NAIG) as they whooped Manitoba 7-0.
Team Saskatchewan is undefeated at the #Indigenous Games so far, amassing 44 runs in five games. Only two runs have been earned against Saskatchewan, both by Nova Scotia in the second game of round robin play. Team Sask. won that game 7-2.
"There’s still a lot of work to do," said Tim Cyr, one of the coaches for Team Sask. Tim Cyr coaches Team Saskatchewan and says ‘defence is always key.’ (Creeden Martell/CBC) Cyr, who hails from the Pasqua #First Nation, is a veteran of the Indigenous games, having played in three and currently at his second NAIG as a coach. Cyr estimates he’s been coaching for about a decade, though mostly with older teams.
"Defence is always key in championships like this," Cyr said. "Keeping the boys level-headed always helps, forsure."
For Team Manitoba’s skip, Trent Robinson, it’s his first time coaching at the Indigenous Games.
"The team was finally coming together with chemistry," he said.
Robinson, who has coached the Pimicikamak Wolves from Cross Lake First Nation in Man., is relishing in the opportunity to be a part of this year’s games being held in Toronoto.
"It feels good to be out here, to be out here with everyone," he said. "One of the best feelings, one of the best opportunities I’ll ever have as a coach and I enjoy it." ‘Team Sask. is a very tough team, I’ll tell you that right away,’ says Team Manitoba coach Trent Robinson. (Creeden Martell/CBC) Despite the big loss, Manitoba will play for bronze on Friday. The team wants the medal so they can take something home to be proud of, he added.
"Team Sask. is a very tough team, I’ll tell you that right away," Robinson said. Team camaraderie
Cyr said the team didn’t come in green, adding members played about 10 exhibition games back home with men and kids their own age before coming to the Indigenous games.
Cyr said what keeps Team Sask. operating like a well-oiled machine is keeping the group together, tight-knit but in an easy-going atmosphere.
"That’s what they seem to like and they really flourish in that atmosphere."
Cyr’s words were evident during the game when members of the team would call out words of encouragement from the pen and feed off of the few— but loud – Saskatchewan fans who made the trip east from the prairies.
"We’re pretty confident in the aspects of our game," Cyr said, crediting his defence and his pitcher duo of Darian Cote-Bellegarde and Troy Preymack.
Team Saskatchewan will play Team Ontario for the gold medal on Friday. Whether they win or lose, they’ll spend Saturday taking in the sights before they head back west.
Roundup of Team Sask. wins: 8 – 0 v Manitoba7 – 2 v Nova Scotia7 – 0 v Ontario15 – 0 v Eastern Door and the North7 – 0 v Manitoba
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